Warning over green bridge

The West Australian

The Department of Agriculture and Food is urging growers to manage their "green bridge" in the lead-up to seeding to protect their crops from pests and diseases.

WA grains biosecurity officer Jeff Russell, of DAFWA, said as the result of the significant late summer and early autumn rains across the grainbelt, there had been the emergence of many volunteer crops and weeds.

"In particular, areas around Geraldton have been very wet over the past six weeks, and the green bridge growth is quite advanced," he said.

"Given the rainfall we are now experiencing and future predictions, there is the potential for the green bridge to have an extended life leading up to seeding."

Mr Russell said while some growers had already started seeding, control was still important.

"This season it may not be as much of a concern that volunteer crops and weeds are using precious moisture; however, they can be a breeding ground for pests and diseases, as was the experience in 2012," he said.

"In the 2012 growing season, the first detections of High Plains virus in Western Australia were recorded in parts of the central grainbelt.

"Since then new rust strains affecting wheat and barley have also been detected and become established in WA. The current warm, moist conditions are ideal for such diseases to multiply and provide a high spore load via the green bridge."

Information on green bridge control can be found on the DAFWA website www.agric.wa.gov.au and searching for 'green bridge'.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails